Author Topic: Tipping  (Read 13742 times)

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Offline Amyj

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Tipping
« on: June 05, 2008, 06:19:20 PM »
We were tossing this about at faire last weekend and I thought I would get the opinions of others.

As season pass holders we see our favorite acts 2-3 times a weekend, 4-5 weekends a summer...and we make sure to tip each time ($5 is what we try to tip eash show, give or take)...and we buy their CDs.  We were wondering if performers would prefer the per-show tips, or one large $50-100 tip at the beginning of the season.  One point that was made was that when others (mostly the mundanes) see us tipping at the show it lets them know (or reminds them) that they too should tip.  So would it be good to do larger individual per-show tips or one medium $25-40 tip at the beginning of the season and then $2-4 per show tips throughout?

What do you think?
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Offline Terry Griffith

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2008, 09:27:56 PM »
Amyj,

I really hate to say this because I'm probably killing a good thing for some performer but you are really over the top.  $50 to $100?  Either you are fabulously wealthy or being very frugal with the truth.  Nobody tips that much for the whole season or just once.  For a tip like that, most performers would come to your house and do a whole evening.

Tempering your enthusiasm with reality, I would rather see everyone tip anywhere from $1 to $5 each show.  Unfortunately, most people aren't blessed with the disposable cash that you seem to have and rather to embarrass someone that cant afford to tip to the extreme, I would like to see EVERYONE give a token amount. 

To contribute to the hat at a Ren Faire is to show appreciation for the entertainer's talent and performance.  Unlike a gig in a pub or nightclub, the ren tradition sends a message to the performer.  People who are visiting their first faire may not understand this but to walk away from a stage without giving some sort of a tip is like leaving a note saying, "Dude, you suck".  We don't expect a large amount (and any entertainer who does is taking advantage of the audience) but something that says thank you for sharing your talent, you are doing a good job.  If you gave me a really large tip on the first day of the season and then never gave me another cent, I would wonder what I did wrong all of a sudden.  Other partrons would wonder why you didn't leave a couple of bucks if you enjoyed it so much.

We get paid for our services.  Anyone who needs tips to live on is doing something wrong.  Buy CDs and don't make copies for all your friends and leave a token tip.  That's what we expect.
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Offline Cobaltblu

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2008, 09:59:11 AM »
I attended my first ren faire last summer and it never occurred to me to tip the performers since I assumed they were being paid by the faire.  I paid about $22 to get into the faire.  I also didn't see anyone tipping them either (at all for any of the acts which I watched and really paid attention to) but they were selling CDs and merchandise and I did buy a few items from one or two acts.

Each act probably had 100-200 people watching for each performance and did maybe 2-3 performances a day so if everyone tipped on average $2 they would be making some good money.

If I gave a tip it would be about $2 per performance and maybe more or less depending on how good it was and whether or not the act was being paid by the faire.  I would never give money upfront because the whole idea of a tip is to show appreciation for a job well done (and done well without knowing that you will absolutely be given a good tip or already got it).

I would rather spend money on merchandise like CDs and T-Shirts.

Regards,

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Offline Terry Griffith

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 11:41:31 AM »
I certainly don't want to monopolize this discussion but there are a couple of things I neglected to mention that might have made the situation clearer to Cobaltblu.

Some faires are designated as "No Hat".  When I signed contracts for my first Ren Faire and saw "Hat rights" included, I thought, "I better be able to wear my hat, it's part of my costume" .  I soon learned that "Hat rights" meant you have the right to collect and expect tips by passing the hat or just having something on stage for people to put money in.

Cobaltblu, you don't mention what faire you went to last summer but I would bet it was a no hat faire.  Those generally pay the performers more than the ones that give hat rights and performers are not allowed to ask for tips.  That avoids the problem but it also leaves out an important part of Ren tradition.  The gate charge is also usually lower at faires that expect paytrons to tip.  It's only a few dollars less and you might end up tipping twice that throughout the day but the price of everything has gone up.

Also, a large faire with large seating areas may have 100 to 200 people but most only have 30 or 40 people in the audience at the busy part of the day and maybe only 12 people for the first show.  Seating area may be a deciding factor in giving hat rights or not.  For a large audience, if everyone came to the stage to tip and speak with the performers and buy CDs, it would run into the next act's stage time. 

That is another consideration.  When someone comes to the stage to tip, it's also an opportunity to interact with the performer.  Many people say, "good show" as they feed the hat and the response from the performer may lead to a conversation and relationship.  As a result, partrons may go on to buy a CD or come to the next show because they feel like they know the performer now.  It's a very pleasureable part of the experience for both parties and something I miss at other genres like mundane pubs.  As a side note, I always envied the cleavage of bawdy wench acts because it was an extra incentive to gentlemen to tip.  Feeding a hat is not half as nice as stuffing a farthing in a bodice.

In order to make general observations about things like tipping, all these things should be taken into consideration.  To make a general statement, one would have to say that tipping at a Ren fest is traditional even if only a token amount and only if the faire owners allow it.

I'm done now.
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Offline raevyncait

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2008, 12:57:11 PM »
Honestly, there are only a handful of acts that I see over and over and over and over in a season.  The size of my tips generally are based on 1. how much I enjoyed the show and 2. the number of people in the act.  For example a $5 split for let's say, Don Juan & Miguel is going to be $2.50 each; on the other hand, for the Corsairs it's down to a buck each.  That being said, the acts that I do see several shows per day, every day of the season, I do spend quite a bit over the course of a season in their tip jar, and I have saved my $ and budgeted for it, because I tip a MINIMUM of $5/show, which equates out to $20-$30 per weekend, for the entire run (8 weekends).  No, I am not wealthy, and yes, I do buy merchandise, often multiples of items which I give as gifts. 
It is to the point with one act that I have to sneak the $ in, because if they see me they try to give my $ back to me. They do not live on the tips, but they do use them for food/drinks at faire.  It is my chance to show my appreciation for the joy that their work brings to my life.
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Offline DonaCatalina

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2008, 02:11:32 PM »
I have no idea how much his Excellency spends on tips; but I believe it is between $2 & $5 a show. I carry no cash myself.

At our faire we see maybe 8 or 9 people out of 30 tip at any given show we watch. So we make sure we tip at least something at every show we watch,
Pour encourager les autres

We also buy a lot of CD and spend time talking with our favorites, of which there are several. Over the years we've arrived at the point we consider most of them friends.

I can't imagine tipping anyone $100 at one go, though sometimes I'd like to be able to.
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Offline Amyj

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2008, 05:31:21 PM »
Terry...I see your point about the amount of the money...I should have clarified that the only acts that we would tip THAT much to would be the 2 or 3 who are real favorites, not all of them.  :)  (and $100 was a dollar amount that we pulled out of the air based on what we calculated we spend per act over the entire run of faire...give or take $25)  I also only get to go to my home faire for the whole run and possibly one weekend at another faire, so $300 for a whole year....not too bad actually (and my home faire hits right about the time tax refunds are in too, so that helps). 

I just worry that $3-5 per show is so little compared to what I get out of the shows.

Maybe I could just up the per-show tip a little?  Dunno...like I said initially, we are tossing this out there and seeing how much of it sticks.  :)  (so hopefully I won't tread on any sore nerves with the topic)
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Offline Once Debauched

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2008, 11:57:10 PM »
I attend the same home faire as Amyj and they all "pass the hat." I also tip a minimum of $5 per show or $1 per person if more than 5 are in the act.  She's right, once you start splitting up the tips it ain't always much!  *chuckle*

I figure if these performers are willing to brave our miserable hot, humid, and often times wet weather to entertain us they've more than earned a $5 tip. I for one appreciate them coming to St. Louis when they could be somewhere with better weather!
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Offline aerial angels

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2008, 02:34:40 AM »
Amyj,

I really hate to say this because I'm probably killing a good thing for some performer but you are really over the top.  $50 to $100?  Either you are fabulously wealthy or being very frugal with the truth.  Nobody tips that much for the whole season or just once.  For a tip like that, most performers would come to your house and do a whole evening.

This is a really interesting discussion and I'm curious to see where it leads. It's kind of late here, so I'll chime in more later, but I just want to comment on this part -

Um, no. *Most* performers would not come to your house and do a whole evening for that price. I'm sure there are some professional performers that might do that, but going rates for private parties in most areas of the country are not $50-100 for an evening. That's what I advise my interns to charge per hour until they are polished enough to charge more.

Are there people who work in a lower price range? Of course. But please don't set up professional entertainers to have to defend their living wage any more than that situation already exists.

For the record, I have indeed received $50 and $100 tips. They tend to be at festivals where people are expecting to tip (busker festivals, specifically to watch street performing), and where there is no admission fee. It happens seldom enough to be a pleasant surprise, but it's not so remarkable that I tell my mom about it. It's not rare to get several twenties in a hat, and I'm proud to have worked hard to get my act to a point where that does happen.

Of course I want to set an appearance fee at a price point where I don't have to have the tips - but working at a hat pass renfest, I factor in my expected tips when I quote a price.

We are the ultimate people's entertainment - no-one has to "buy their ticket" until they've already seen the show and decided what that ticket was worth. And the people who can afford to buy expensive tickets directly subsidize the entertainment for the people who can't. Handshakes and smiles are always welcome, and part of my company's mission is to reach people regardless of ability to pay. But private parties are a different kettle of fish, and they aren't inexpensive :)



Offline Terry Griffith

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2008, 08:18:11 AM »
My apologies.  I was exaggerating a bit about coming to someone's home for an evening for $50 - $100.  I suppose someone would and there are performers who play for free for some faires but I wouldn't recommend anyone who would.  I was trying to make a point. 

I have received $50 tips as well but they are few and far between.  In todays economy where the haves and the have nots are so far apart, I'm happy to see someone has the disposable income to support the arts. 

To those who can afford it, let me offer a sincere "thank you".  You are truly patrons of the arts.  To those who cannot afford it, please don't feel obliged to follow suit.  Tip something, even if it's a buck.  I appreciate the gesture as much as the money.  That's what tipping should be about.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 08:20:24 AM by Terry Griffith »
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Offline anne of oaktower

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2008, 11:44:22 PM »
AmyJ, I'm really glad you started this thread.  It has given me a few things to think about.  I'm afraid that, due to a vindictive ex, I am deep, deep in the hole.  Getting by, but in the hole, nevertheless.  There have been times when I have watched a show and felt as if I needed to "sneak out the back door" while everyone else was heading for the front, because I had simply run out of cash.  What a horrible feeling!  I felt as though I was sending the message that Terry spoke of..."Dude, you suck"...despite the fact that the performance was quite good.  I have finally learned to go to the bank and get a stack of ones before going to faire, so that I will definitely have tip money.  I had never considered though that the tip money doesn't break down to very much when split between multiple members of a group.  I will be sure to keep that in mind from now on and adjust my tip accordingly.

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Offline anne of oaktower

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2008, 11:45:51 PM »
It is to the point with one act that I have to sneak the $ in, because if they see me they try to give my $ back to me. They do not live on the tips, but they do use them for food/drinks at faire.  It is my chance to show my appreciation for the joy that their work brings to my life.

raevyncait - perhaps the group who tries to give your tip back if you're caught sneaking it into the hat would like something else instead.  You've obviously come to know them rather well...would it be possible to present them with a plate of homemade goodies?

*** I would never recommend that as an alternative to tipping unless a guest has already established a mutual friendship with the performer(s) *** 
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Offline Lady Nicolette

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2008, 07:42:57 AM »
Since I'm at my home faire all season, I like to tip each day, but only the first show I see for the day, as I usually give $5 per person, max of $20 for any group.  At the moment, I'm well off financially, but can see the day ahead where this will have to be amended to $1 per person, max of $5 per group.  Since I used to gain part of my own living this way via my first husband, I know how close to the edge most performers live and am happy that right now I can afford to be more generous.  I also like to purchase the CD's that favorite performers release, as those are expensive for them to produce, this is the way they recoup their investment.  I agree that tipping as often as you can will tip off (pun!) the clueless in the audience.  I often will even announce, "Do as I do!" when walking up to a tip jar, it's amazing how many people will fall in line to do just that.  I have also been known to tip more extravagantly for a particular favor, like honoring a special request for a song or a song in the lanes.
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Offline raevyncait

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2008, 08:27:47 PM »

raevyncait - perhaps the group who tries to give your tip back if you're caught sneaking it into the hat would like something else instead.  You've obviously come to know them rather well...would it be possible to present them with a plate of homemade goodies?

*** I would never recommend that as an alternative to tipping unless a guest has already established a mutual friendship with the performer(s) *** 

they are wonderful friends, and I have gotten very good at sneaking the $ in, when they aren't watching... and there are a few little things that I do that show them that they are appreciated.  I also know that even if someone doesn't have $ to put in the jar, or into a CD, a heartfelt "good show" is always appreciated. 

And speaking for myself only, as an audience member, I am less likely to notice that no tip was received from any one person who is sitting there at the end of the show than I am to notice the ones who made the not so stealthy exit just as the hat is being passed.
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Offline Cobaltblu

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2008, 08:39:28 PM »
Yes the more I think of it the faire I went to (Sterling Renaissance Festival) must be a no-hat since I never saw a hat at any performance.  Nearly every act sold merchandise though and the more I think about it they probably made more profit off the merchandise than they might have made from tips, since a lot of people at every show bought one or more items at most shows.

Since it is no tip, this year I made some favors so I will offer favors to acts I especially enjoy to show my appreciation.

Regards,

CB
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